Awoke on Day 1 of Epic Camp Kona 2014 to find that the weather looked favourable for the day's festivities which started at 06:45 with the first of three groups rolling out of Bali Kai for the start of the full 112 mile bike course out along the Queen Ka'ahumanu (Queen K) Highway, from Kailua-Kona to the turnaround in Hawi, normally you can be exposed to intense trade winds that buffet much of the exposed western and northern coast of the Big Island. The winds vary in intensity from steady to heavy blasts that can blow cyclists across the road. For this reason, disc wheels are not permitted in the races here. Winds may subside during the gradual climb to Hawi but pick up again as athletes make their way back to Kona. Today Madame Pele smiled upon the Epic Campers as the winds were light, (there are several traditional legends associated with Pele in Hawaiian mythology. In addition to being recognized as the goddess of volcanoes, Pele is also known for her power, passion, jealousy, and capriciousness). I'm not sure if she was any of those things today but she certainly was kind!The race we did two weeks ago in Bradwell-on-Sea, Essex with it's 20 to 35 mph winds trained us well for today although the freezing temperatures did nothing to prepare us for the heat and humidity! Coach John Newsom, the Epic Camp organiser, was hoping for a tough day at the office but I'm not sure anyone else shared his desire!
Our group stayed together pretty much to the turn around but gaps started to appear on the way back particularly after the climb out of Kawaihae which is a lot more steep than it looks on the television! It is often here or on the climb up to scenic point where one of the pros puts the hammer down and the wind is often a tail wind here so there is a real opportunity to overheat. This was prevented on Epic Camp by the wonderful Dave and Mark leap frogging the riders in the vans to provide much needed ice and all sorts of nutrition as well as words of encouragement in either a Kiwi or Texan accent respectively
After the ride there was a 7km run off the bike out to Turtle Beach and back which was completed at the ubiquitous "Ironman Shuffle" pace. There was a couple of hours to grab some lunch, throw some stuff in the laundry before it was off again down to the pier for an ocean swim before dinner in Lava Java. All in all a good solid training day. Special mention has to go to our Roomie, Nadia who managed to miss the turnaround and therefore tacked on an extra 10k onto the 180k ride, as a result of her efforts she won the prize for the effort of the day as well as the "Dick of the Day" prize :-)